NEW YORK - New York officials will increase shark patrols and surveillance after a series of shark encounters on Long Island.
Gov. Kathy Hochul also ordered more drone and helicopter monitoring in the waters at Long Island State Park beaches.
The governor also ordered state agencies to expand shark safety resources and education.
State Parks will increase lifeguard staffing by 25% at ocean beaching through overtime. This will translate to approximately two to four lifeguards within each field, which will boost surveillance for sharks and other marine life from the shore, by surfboats, and through an enhanced drone beach surveillance program.
Drone surveillance at Long Island State Park beaches will expand from four miles to 11 miles.
The number of available drones at Jones Beach State Park will rise to three from one. There will be two available drones at Robert Moses State Park instead of one. Hither Hills State Park will be assigned its first drone.
Park Police also have one drone available to respond as needed.
Long Island State Parks has 13 certified drone operators, with six more operators expected to complete certification in the coming weeks.
Under State Park shark safety guidelines, swimming is suspended following a shark sighting so the shoreline can be inspected by drone. Swimming is only allowed to resume at least an hour after the last sighting in order to better protect beach visitors.
To minimize the risk of shark interactions, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation advises the following shark safety tips:
• Avoid areas with seals.
• Avoid areas with schools of bait fish, often characterized by fish splashing on the surface, diving sea birds, or the presence of marine mammals such as dolphins.
• Avoid areas where people are fishing.
• Avoid swimming in the ocean at dusk, dawn, or nighttime.
• Avoid murky water.
• Avoid isolation. Swim, paddle, kayak, and surf in groups.
• Swim close to shore, where your feet can touch the bottom.
• Always follow the instructions of lifeguards and Parks staff.
• Adhere to all signage at beaches.